Sunsets and sunrises are getting dimmer every day.
I fear Aisha would never know what they look like, so I paint them for her every weekend. I could click a picture, but I want it to be more personal, I guess. The hospitals are so expensive nowadays; breathing seems like a rich man’s game. With every inhale sulfur dioxide enters our bodies, who knows if I’ll survive till Aisha’s all grown up to appreciate the beauty of sunsets, or even look at it.
I was born in 2029. I’ve seen the world rot in front of my eyes. The leaders kept deflecting the problem of climate change, and the public was ignorant. In 2050, however, Gaia gave up protesting. The ozone got worse, the temperature rapidly increasing. From Mumbai to Miami, land was submerged. To hide the sun, the governments started the Aerosol Project. Necessity is the mother of invention, so teleportation technologies were made. People could visit each other without breathing any of the atmospheric air. We thought it was against the laws of physics, but Dr Gomez rewrote them around ’55.
The land left was only 68% of what was 50 years ago. The governments now all formed a single body, heavily favoring the rich, who were named the Opulent. The Super Opulent already set bases on Mars to live in the luxury of health, leaving us all to die.
On my 21st birthday, the first injection took place. All scientific evidence pointing to the fact that this could in turn cause harm to the ozone, or that the Opulent got much healthier injections was destroyed. And so came up the Rebels. This team of scientists, anarchists and inventors was determined on holding the government accountable, and changing the world. For the better. I was unsure about joining them, but ever since I’ve had Aisha, I want to help them. I want my daughter to breathe, not from a tank, but free air. I don’t want her to fear that one day the glaciers could take her life.
Aerosol injections are getting worse every day. The Rebels have tried to propose alternative solutions. The government intervenes to reduce their funding to a minimum, so they can keep hoarding the Opulent’s money. I’ve applied Aisha into the Rebel training program so we can give her an early start as soon as the slots open.
I wrote a fake address on the application. But there’s someone knocking on my door. How could this happen? I find myself unable to move. What if it’s them? What if they’re coming for the whole town?
I look through the peephole, and there is no one there. Maybe it’s my dad; I’ve been trying to contact him. I open the door, slowly. I see a shadow so I quickly hide behind the door again. My hand reaches for the nearest drawer. Gunshots ring throughout the house.
Shit. There’s blood on my hands. What have I done?
I just killed two of their men... One of them is Lana. She was my neighbor. We weren’t close, but I should probably call her son….
No. I can’t grieve over this right now. I need to go check on Aisha.
I run towards her room. I lift her blanket, anxiously. She's not there.
I panic. My head is screaming. A million things run in my mind. I could text Ajay. Or teleport to Sandra's, but I don't have her address. I pin her house so the machine can find any portals nearby. Ok, I just need her confirmation. I look up as my call transfers to my headset.
"We're coming for you."
It was written in blue silicon. It may be a massive hunt for all Rebel applicants, and they were using their new humanoids to kill all potential Rebels.
WHY ISN'T SANDRA PICKING UP?
She had applied her son Zion into the program. Zion is a 6 year old and a bit too smart for his age. I couldn't let it happen to him as well.
Ok, she picked up. I tell her to confirm my portal. She does. It is a beta version, a little shaky.
“Sandra, take Zion to the basement and keep him safe. Quick.”
“Can you do this on your own?”
“Not sure. But I’ll fight till my last breath to protect the two of you.”
“I’ve kept some special grenades in the last shelf to help you out.”
They're here. I have a deactivator in my hand, which will turn off the Wi-Fi controlled drones. It works for 21 seconds.
I push the button.
I've been waiting to test my prototype, but not in this way. I pull the trigger and it makes a hole in their suits. “You won’t get away this time!” I scream as I throw the grenades.
Hi-laser guns that I'd crafted for the Rebels can puncture bulletproof outfits. And the grenades are designed to blow up the guards precisely.
I don't enjoy a second of this. These are my people, being mind controlled. It pains me to think I could have been one of them.
I throw blue grenades at the drones. These are almost UFO-like in size. Yeah, the mystical objects my grandma would tell me stories about.
Shit! It didn't work. The drones can teleport. But they will get delivered to some address.
“Sandra! Zion!” I cry, with tears rolling down my bruised face. I reach the basement.
But the drones have already taken Sandra's life. My eyes are fixated on Zion. I need to save him.
“Zion, destroy the portal with the hammer!”
He throws more grenades with all his power. They've teleported to some other place. But they can't come here now.
I pick up Zion in my arms. He's unconscious, and extremely lucky. The venom didn't get to him.
He is going to be an amazing Rebel.
We are going to get revenge for Sandra and Aisha. We'll fight.